Pump Away Angina Pain

EECP improves blood flow to heart, easing cardiac discomfort.

John Gore’s life has gone to the dogs.

A retired law enforcement officer, John spent 22 of the 25 years he served with the Brooksville Police Department and Hernando County Sheriff’s Office working on K9 units, where he partnered with six dogs during his career. 

“The K9 units are usually the guys that run into the woods with their dogs to track the bad guys running from the police,” John explains. “My dogs and I also did drug searches and article retrieval. If we suspected someone threw evidence into a field that took up a vast area, we would send out the dogs to find it so the evidence could be recovered.”

John evaluates dogs for training classes at his kennel.

John evaluates dogs for training classes at his kennel.

Prior to retiring from the Hernando agency in 2013, John, 61, created New Sentry K9, a kennel for boarding and training dogs. His business provides a range of services, from basic and advanced obedience courses to specialty work in tracking and protection. 

“I’m the owner and CEO and perform dog evaluations,” John relates. “And anytime a problem arises where the trainers need my expertise, I get involved. We also breed and sell police dogs, so I’m trying to get out of that now and concentrate on civilian clients.”

In 2008, John suffered a heart attack. Doctors treated him by placing a stent in the blocked coronary artery supplying his heart. Following the procedure, though, John lacked energy and began to experience angina pain and shortness of breath. 

“The chest pain I experienced was bad, a seven or eight on a scale of one to 10,” John elaborates. “I had to keep nitroglycerine with me all the time. And the decreased energy and shortness of breath diminished my ability to walk across the training field and help clients with their dogs. I also like to ride motorcycles and go boating, kayaking and fishing, but my symptoms hindered those activities as well.”

Those symptoms prompted a search for further medical assistance, which he soon received from L. Amarchand, MD, a cardiologist and internist in Brooksville. During an initial examination, Dr. Amarchand discovered that John’s angina pain and fatigue were due to a lack of oxygenated blood flowing through his heart.

“As these symptoms get progressively worse, it is not unusual for people to restrict their activities to reduce their discomfort,” Dr. Amarchand asserts. “As a result, their quality of life quickly diminishes.”

To correct the problem, Dr. Amarchand recommended enhanced external counterpulsation. Also known as EECP, it is a safe, noninvasive, circulation-boosting technique that works like a natural bypass procedure to ease uncomfortable cardiac symptoms.

Carefully Timed Rhythms 

Dr. Amarchand uses EECP to treat patients with cardiac disorders such as congestive heart failure, blocked coronary arteries and angina pain. He considers it a perfect option for individuals seeking a noninvasive alternative to heart surgery or for those who are not candidates for surgery. EECP also helps individuals who have not achieved relief through procedures such as bypass and angioplasty. Most importantly, research shows EECP works.

“According to studies, 85 percent of patients completing EECP treatments obtain substantial and sometimes dramatic relief from their heart-related symptoms,” Dr. Amarchand discloses. “The same percentage realizes increased exercise tolerance, mental alertness and reduced need for nitroglycerin to relieve angina pain. More than 12 million Americans have found relief from their symptoms, had their energy restored and received other benefits through the use of EECP.”

Those benefits can last from three to five years, the doctor stresses, and because EECP is noninvasive, this FDA-approved and Medicare-reimbursed treatment can be repeated as needed.

 

My chest pain is a lot better thanks to EECP treatments. – John


 

The treatment is delivered through a series of 35 hourlong sessions over seven weeks. During an EECP session, the patient reclines, fully clothed, on a cushioned table while listening to music or watching television.

Compression cuffs are wrapped around the calves, thighs and buttocks to apply pressure in rhythms carefully timed to the patient’s heartbeat.

“The pressure propels more blood upward and into the coronary arteries, enlarging the arteries and improving collateral circulation,” Dr. Amarchand educates. “It helps the circulatory system bypass coronary artery blockages and opens up the underused collateral blood vessels.”

Heart Awareness 

John received his first course of EECP in 2010 and realized significant improvement in his angina pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. He’s revisited Dr. Amarchand several times since to have the treatment repeated. 

“Usually, after the first or second treatment session, I start to feel more energized, and that gets even better as the sessions continue,” John enthuses. “After the EECP procedure, I don’t have any chest pain for quite some time, usually a year or two. 

“Dr. Amarchand advises me not to play around with the angina pain. He doesn’t want any damage to my heart, so anytime I start to feel a little shortness of breath, I know it’s time to go back and get the treatment again.”

John says he finds the EECP treatments to be very relaxing and usually passes the time by watching television or listening to music.

“Many times, I fall asleep halfway through it,” he adds.

John recently started a new round of EECP and noticed a considerable reduction in his symptoms immediately.

“I noticed a change the first day,” he reports. “I felt my heart getting oxygenated and receiving better blood flow. When you’ve had a heart attack, you become very aware of your heart and how it’s performing.

“My chest pain is a lot better thanks to EECP treatments. I used to carry nitro all the time. Now I don’t even worry about it. My energy level is also much better than it was, although the shortness of breath still comes and goes.”

John says that through the years he’s developed a close bond with Dr. Amarchand.

“Dr. Amarchand is a great guy,” he enthuses. “He’s very friendly and knowledgeable, and in addition to being my physician, I also consider him a friend. I absolutely recommend him and his EECP. If it didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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    • L. Amarchand, MD, FACP

      L. Amarchand, MD, FACP, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a two-year fellowship in cardiology and cardiac nuclear imaging at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingsto... Read More

    • L. Amarchand, MD, FACP

      L. Amarchand, MD, FACP, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a two-year fellowship in cardiology and cardiac nuclear imaging at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Li... Read More

    • Tong Guo

      Dr. Tong Guo, a pioneer in obtaining FDA approval of EECP for use in the United States, assists Dr. Amarchand in overseeing EECP, ensuring the delivery of optimal treatment with excellent outcomes for patients. Dr. Guo worked as a researc... Read More